“The Venture Brothers” is rapidly taking a place as one of the best shows on television.
Yes, seriously. Yes, the show that’s a satire of Johnny Quest. Well, WAS a satire of Johnny Quest.
The first two seasons were basically gag cartoons but had some continuity. The third season stepped it up quite a bit, revealing more of the character’s past, including a full origin of the Monarch, and detailing more of the Venture world. And now we’ve got the current season, which just had its finale and paid it all off beautifully. The entire cast has developed dimensionality and there are even some touching moments.
The theme of the show used to be “failure”, but has shifted this season to letting go and moving on. Rusty Venture is starting to accept that it’s OK he’ll never be his dad, and that he’s not nearly as much of a loser as some of the other grown-up boy adventurers. Hank and Dean are…OK, they’re both idiots, but now they’re growing up. Henchman 21 has become enough of a bad-ass, after years of being the fat snarker, to impress Brock Samson into being a sort of mentor to him.
Of course, this makes it sound like a drama. Which it isn’t. It’s still funny as hell, in fact moreso now. This is a show that takes a minor character from the third season, the flamboyantly gay Shore Leave, and brings him back. Shore Leave deserves special mention, I think, because it illustrates the hilariously subversive nature of the show. Shore Leave is, in posture, voice, and styling, as campy as it gets. His reintroduction features him gunning down a room full of henchmen and holding his own, as an equal, to the baddest badass in the entire series, Brock.
That’s what I love about this show: it constantly zigs when you expect it to zag. I can’t wait for the next set of episodes. In May.